Bullied Teens Twice as Likely to Consider Suicide

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Bullied teenagers are twice as likely to consider suicide and two-and-a-half times as likely to actually attempt to kill themselves, according to a new study.

The study out Monday from JAMA Pediatrics found that cyberbullying has become particularly dangerous. Kids who were cyberbullied were more three times as likely to contemplate suicide as non-bullied kids. The researchers compiled data from dozens of studies done since 1912, which included data gathered from over 234,000 teens and kids.

“This might be because with cyberbulling, victims may feel they’ve been denigrated in front of a wider audience,” said Mitch van Geel, who led the study, said in an interview posted on the JAMA journal’s website. He also noted that online taunting lasts for longer on the Internet, and has a greater capacity to haunt the victims.

In the United States, between five percent and eight percent of teenagers attempt to kill themselves every year, and suicide is one of the leading causes of teenage deaths. Some high-profile suicides like that of Rebecca Ann Sedwick (who killed herself after classmates asked “why are you still alive?”) have led parents and educators to seriously consider the link between bullying and suicide.

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com